Winter is nearly upon us.
Last year I am sure - positive - all these things happened, but we just didn't notice them. Everything was so strange and unfamiliar, these minor changes to the canvas of the city went un-noticed by our eyes. We hadn't seen how the city looks and functions in the summer, so didn't realise that huge pots of flowers line the streets, people's gardens are full of blooms all summer long, and the neighbourhood isn't always so bare.
The ponds in the local parks are being been drained one by one, the fountains no longer flowing, flowerbeds have been dug up and any larger bushes wrapped in a protective cocoon. Anti-slip matting put on steps, flowerpots have disappeared. The speed bumps along the back alley have been removed - I assume to make way for the snow plough.
People have begun to erect temporary car ports (think big gazebo) on their driveways, so they don't have to clear snow off their vehicle every morning. Certain neighbourhoods, such as ours, prohibit the use of them. They don't look that attractive, but I am sure at 7am in minus double figures the appearance is the least of your worries when you are trying to scrape the snow off your car so you can get in it.
It snowed just outside the city a couple of weeks ago, and I could have sworn there were a few flakes fluting down yesterday, but as of yet, the 'real' snow hasn't arrived.
It will be interesting to see how we view the winter the second time around, as last year it was all a novelty, reporting back home the baltic temperatures, the problems faced, how the city responded.
Only time will tell, and I am sure I will let you know...